The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Clear bag policy implemented for U.Va. sporting events

Increased security measures announced for John Paul Jones Arena and Scott Stadium

<p>The clear bag policy will be in effect at the Bicentennial Launch Celebration.</p>

The clear bag policy will be in effect at the Bicentennial Launch Celebration.

Virginia Athletics sent an email out last week announcing a new clear bag policy and entrance procedures for all Scott Stadium and JPJ athletic events. 

This policy was in place for the Sept. 24 Concert for Charlottesville and will also be in place at the Bicentennial Launch Celebration Friday, University Communications announced Monday. It will also be in effect at Saturday’s home football game against Duke, and will apply for all home football games and men’s and women’s basketball games in the future.

The clear bag policy limits the size and type of bag permitted in Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena. According to the Virginia Athletics press release, the bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and cannot exceed 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches or clear one-gallon plastic freezer bags. Prohibited bags include briefcases, backpacks, computer bags and other bags larger than the permissible dimensions.

The new entrance procedures consist of hand-wand and walk-through metal detectors at all entry gates of both the stadium and arena.

“In on our preliminary review with MSA Security, the University has adopted new security practices for large-scale events, including home football games,” University Deputy Spokesperson Matt Charles said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. 

The University has been working with consultants since mid-August to review and assess security protocols, Charles said. The two policy changes are a result of recommendations made by the security consultants to enhance security for large-scale events held on Grounds. 

According to Charles, the final decision was made by a group of leaders at the University including representatives from the Athletics Department, University Police, the executive leadership team and other operations staff. 

The University is not the first to implement this policy, but is following suit of other top tier athletic schools and major league sports.

“Virginia is the 47th of the 65 Power 5 schools (members of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to adopt the policy,” Charles said. “The clear bag policy is also in place at all NFL stadiums.”

Prior to the start of the 2016 academic year, 31 of the 65 Power 5 schools had enacted the clear bag policy. In the past year, the University and 15 other schools have implemented the policy. 

Metal detector screenings have also been implemented at 10 other college football stadiums, Charles said. This additional security measure is a relatively recent development at college football stadiums. In 2014, Boise State was the first major university to have metal detectors at college football games. Metal detection screening is also in place at every MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL venue.

“It’s kind of inconvenient, but it’s not really that big of a deal for the most part,” second-year College student Grant Tobin said.

Batten graduate student Emily Mooney said she is concerned about the practicality of the restriction, but said she is confident in the University’s reasoning.

“I have doubts about the feasibility,” Mooney said. “I wonder if the negative repercussions or costs that will be incurred by this policy might not offset the benefits. However, I’m sure the University has done a study on this and are trying to put the community’s best interests forward. So it’ll be interesting to see how this looks at this Saturday’s football game.” 

Fourth-year Nursing student Anna Claire Fotopoulos is president of Hoo Crew, a student organization that encourages student participation at University sporting events. The clear bag policy could also be an inconvenience for students, especially at basketball games, Fotopoulos said. 

“I’m very interested to see the impact specifically at basketball games,” Fotopoulos said. “At football games, it’s not a big deal to leave your phone in your pocket. But for basketball, it can easily become an all-day event sometimes.”

Students may decide to stay home or come late to basketball games, since many students arrive at games straight from class with their backpacks, Fotopoulos said.

“Especially at night games, that’s a huge chunk of your time that we’ll now just lose. So it’ll be interesting to see how that affects basketball games, because people can’t do their homework now,” Fotopoulos said.

Policies for other athletic events at the University are still under review, and any further policy changes will be announced at a later date.